Yep, the real beginning of Spring is here. A Tradition Unlike Any Other. The Masters.
Danny Willett will return to Tiger-less Augusta this week to defend his somewhat unlikely green jacket from a year ago. His triumph was made possible by a late collapse by Jordan Spieth who comes in to this year’s tournament as one of the favorites yet again. He missed the cut last week but started the year with five top-10s and a win at Pebble Beach. He will most certainly contend for his second green jacket.
Dustin Johnson is far and away the hottest golfer on the planet recently as he has three wins already this year and has ascended to #1 in the world and looks to be staying there for a while. Not sure his power game is completely suited for Augusta but his top-10s the previous two years say otherwise. If he putts well this week, he will surely be there on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy is looking to complete the career grand slam with a Masters win. He has been in contention the last three years and will break through eventually. It is only a matter of time.
Some other potential contenders:
Hideki Matsuyama for sure has the game to contend and now has veteran knowledge of Augusta National paired with some very good results the last two years.
Justin Rose, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, plays majors so methodically and always seems to be around on Sunday.
Jason Day, when healthy, is as hard to beat as anybody on the big stage. A Masters win is for sure in his near future.
Jon Rahm is the new face with the big game on Tour and a top-10 machine. He is an Augusta rookie though which hasn’t seen a rookie win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Probably won’t happen this year for Rahm but he has the game to do it. Would love to see him on the front page of the leaderboard on Sunday. His firey Spanish demeanor is very 2000s Sergio-like.
Rickie Fowler is the crowd favorite and has always been so respectful of the history of the game of golf and especially the Masters where you’ll see him attend the ceremonial first tee shot. A win at Augusta, which would be Rickie’s first major, would be incredible to see. Coming off a win a couple weeks ago and a solid run in 2017 so far, he is ready.
Justin Thomas was unbeatable early in the year but has had some bad results as of late. Doesn’t matter. He will contend.
One gripe: Augusta National still continues to throw their uppity-ness and exclusivity in our faces and restrict viewers from watching coverage on TV until 3pm. Even though most players will have been finished for a couple hours by the time ESPN coverage begins. So stupid. And prepare to see twitter and social media explode over this just like it does every year. They let you watch online coverage of Amen Corner and 15/16 but come on you rich bastards…..SHOW GOLF!
One last note:
It will be sad but no doubt special to see the first Masters played since Arnold Palmer passed. The first tee shot Thursday will be something you should not miss and the tributes throughout the week will certainly be great. I would give a lot of things to be present at the Champions dinner for the Arnie stories undoubtably being told.